MERS causes travel cancellations to South Korea

MERS causes travel cancellations to South Korea

MERS causes travel cancellations to South Korea

Written by Staff Writer

04 Jun, 2015 | 4:29 pm

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak caused anxiety in the minds of tourists in South Korea on Thursday June 4, as two patients died and dozens remained infected in two weeks. In Myeong-dong, a tourist attraction in capital city Seoul, tourists wore mask while walking around the streets.

One of the tourists, voicing her concerns. said she feels insecure about the situation. According to the South Korea Tourism Organisation, on Monday June 1, about 2,500 people and about 4,500 people on Tuesday June 2. canceled trips to the country. The cancellations were mostly by tourists from China and other Asian regions.

Earlier in the day, South Korea’s Health Ministry confirmed five additional cases of MERS, raising the total to 35, including two more healthcare workers who treated infected patients.

There have been two deaths confirmed directly  as a result from MERS, sharply raising public fear and confusion as authorities tried to contain the spread of the disease by tracking down people who may have had contact with patients.

All the cases have been traced to a 68-year-old man who had visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the countries with the most MERS cases. Whilst there has been no sustained human-to-human transmission, the worst-case scenario would be for the virus to change and spread rapidly, as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) did in 2002-2003, killing about 800 people around the world.

MERS was first identified in humans in 2012 and is caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that triggered SARS. But MERS has a much higher death rate at 38 percent, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures.

The new cases would bring the total number globally to 1,179, based on World Health Organisation (WHO) data, with at least 442 related deaths

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